This post contains affiliate links.  We read so many books this month!  I’m not sure how that happened except we’re making excellent pace on our Sonlight homeschool curriculum, Cuddle Bug was sick for a week so we didn’t leave home, and one week many of our regular weekly activities were cancelled for Rodeo Break.  (Yes, Rodeo is a big thing here.)  Here are the best (and worst) books for ages 8 to 12 {February 2020}:

The Best (and Worst) Read Alouds for Ages 8 to 12 {February 2020}

Books We Read

We continue to read multiple books at the same time, and this month, since we were home so much, we finished 10!!:

The Best Books

We had three favorites this month:

The Best and Worst Books for Ages 8 to 12 {February 2020}

Lumber Camp Library by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock

Ruby in Lumber Camp Library, is the oldest child in a large family, and she loves and admires her pa, a lumberjack.  When tragedy strikes, Ruby feels adrift as her entire life is upended.  She thinks that she can never be happy again, but to her surprise, she can and is.  This book is based on experiences from the author’s own family.

This book has 87 pages.

The King’s Equal by Katherine Patterson

The Best (and Worst) Books for Ages 8 to 12 {February 2020}

I love everything by Katherine Patterson that I’ve read so far!  The King’s Equal is a very short book (just 57 pages), but it tells a fantastic story about being self-sufficient, kind, and content.

Captain Nobody by Dean Pitchford

The Best (and Worst) Books for Ages 8 to 12 {February 2020}

In Captain Nobody, Newt is constantly under his big brother, Chris’, shadow, and his busy parents seem to forget him much of the time.  He tries to find his place by keeping the family humming–making breakfast, finding lost items, and reminding them of appointments.  But when Chris is injured in a football game, Newt’s worried parents virtually abandon him.  He creates a superhero costume and calls himself Captain Nobody for Halloween, but it is then that he finds himself.

This book is 195 pages long.

Other Books We Read

Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski

The Best and Worst Books for Ages 8 to 12 {February 2020}

Originally, I wasn’t a big fan of Strawberry Girl.  It was written in a Southern dialect, which made it a bit hard for me to read aloud.  Basically, the story is set in the turn of the century in rural Florida.  One family, the Boyers, moves in and starts to create a successful farm.  Their neighbors, the Slaters, are jealous of their success.  Plus, Mr. Slater is an alcoholic, and a mean one.  Pretty soon, the two neighbors are at war and hurting one another’s property and animals.  However, there is a good tie up at the end, even if it does seem a bit unrealistic.

This book has 194 pages.

The Upstairs Room by Johanna Reiss

The Best and Worst Books for Ages 8 to 12 {February 2020}

My tween picked out The Upstairs Room, and it was an excellent book.  Annie is a Jewish girl living happily in Holland when the Germans invade in 1940.  Before they do, her father begs her mother to leave the country, but her mother refuses.  Instead, Annie’s father finds places for each member of the family to hide, saving their lives.  Annie and her older sister, Sini, stay with a Dutch farmer, his wife, and his mother.

This suspenseful story is based on a true story.  My only reservation about recommending this book is that the Dutch farmer, Johan, tends to swear frequently.  Luckily, I was reading the book aloud, so I simply left that language out.

This book is 196 pages long.

Good Queen Bess by Diane Stanley

The Best (and Worst) Books for Ages 8 to 12 {February 2020}

Before our Sonlight Level C curriculum, I  had never heard of Diane Stanley, but she’s quickly becoming one of my favorite historic authors for kids.  Last month, we read Michelangelo by Stanley, and it was one of our favorites.  This month, we read Good Queen Bess, and we learned a lot about Queen Elizabeth I.  In a world where kings and queens lives were constantly at risk, we were impressed with all of the good things she did for England as well as how she lived into her 70s and died of natural causes.

This book is 35 pages long.

Socks by Beverly Cleary

The Best and Worst Books We Read {February 2020}

In Socks, the cat Socks is perfectly content living with Mr. and Mrs. Bricker.  But life changes when they bring home their new baby son.  Socks is convinced there is no room for him anymore, and goes through a difficult period with challenging behavior.  This is a cute story told from the perspective of the cat, and we, a family of cat lovers, really enjoyed the story.

This book is 139 pages long.

McBroom’s Wonderful One-Acre Farm by Sid Fleischman

The Best and Worst Books for Ages 8 to 12 {February 2020}

McBroom’s Wonderful One-Acre Farm is actually a compilation of three tall tales.  These stories were funny and quick and centered around McBroom’s farm, which could grow produce from seed to harvest in less than a day.

This book is approximately 63 pages long.

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

The Best (and Worst) Books for Ages 8 to 12 {February 2020}

We’ve been reading The Girl Who Drank the Moon each night since late November.  This magical story centers on The Protectorate, a place where the residents live in fear of “the witch.”  They believe to fend off the witch, they must offer each year their youngest citizen, knowing full well the baby will die.

Unbeknownst to The Protectorate, the witch is rescuing each baby and bringing them to loving families to raise.  (The witch has no idea why people leave the babies; she thinks they are unwanted.)  When the witch, Xan, rescues one baby girl, Luna, she feeds her stars but accidentally feeds her the moon and enmagicks her.  Because Luna doesn’t know how to control her magic, Xan ties up the magic until Luna is 13, knowing that will cause Xan’s death.

This is a magical story that we all enjoyed.

This book is 386 pages long.

“B” Is for Betsy by Carolyn Haywood

The Best (and Worst) Books for Ages 8 to 12 {February 2020}

“B” Is for Betsy is a sweet book that is included in our Sonlight curriculum, Level C.  The main character is only in 1st grade, and this story is about her daily adventures.  I’ll be honest and say that this is my least favorite book we read this month, mainly because it felt like nothing every really happened.  Maybe I would have liked it better if I had read it to the girls when they were younger.

This book is 131 pages long.

Audios We Listened To

We listened to some fabulous audios this month:

The Best Audio Book

We listened to several audios this month, and we liked almost all of them, but none of them stood out as exceptional, so there were no best audio books this month.

Other Audios We Listened To

Who Was Louis Braille by Margaret Frith

We were cleaning our bookshelves, which desperately needed organization, so we passed the time by listening to Who Was Louis Braille?  I had no idea that originally blind people read by fingering huge raised letters of the alphabet.  I also didn’t know that using Braille when it was invented by Louis Braille was such a political topic and was strongly resisted.

This audio is approximately 1 hour long.

Paint the Wind by Pam Muñoz Ryan

In Paint the Wind, Maya is an orphan who is being raised by her paternal grandmother.  When her grandmother suddenly dies, Maya goes to live with her mother’s side of the family, whom she doesn’t remember and hasn’t seen since she was four.  Leaving her overprotective grandmother’s house and living with her mother’s family is a big change.  However, Maya learns to ride horses and becomes captivated by a wild horse on the ranch.

This audio is approximately 5 hours long.

Everything on a Waffle by Polly Harvath

In Everything on a Waffle, Primrose Squarp’s parents go out on a boat for the day, but a big storm blows up, and they’re presumed dead.  However, Primrose doesn’t believe their dead.  An elderly woman first takes care of her, and then her Uncle Jack does.  Uncle Jack is eccentric and catches the interest of Primrose’s guidance counselor, who most definitely doesn’t have Primrose’s best interests at heart.  We’re looking forward to the sequel to this one.

This audio is approximately 3.25 hours long.

The Baptism by Shelia P. Moses

In this spunky book, twins Leon and Luke are about to be baptized because they’re 12 years old.  They think this means that they need to stop sinning, but Luke has trouble with that, especially when he’s surrounded by his stepfather that he calls Filthy Frank, and his older brother, who he calls Joe Nasty.  The Baptism, set in the South during segregation, has topics that are a bit advanced, including affairs and out of wedlock births.  This book is recommended for ages 10+, but I’d say it should be 12+.

This audio is approximately 2.25 hours long.

Rowan Hood by Nancy Springer

Cuddle Bug loved the story of Robin Hood, and she loved Rowan Hood even better.  Rowan Hood is about Robin Hood’s daughter, Rosemary.  Rosemary disguises herself as a boy, calls herself Rowan Hood, and goes in search of her father, Robin Hood, who has no idea she exists.  Cuddle Bug loved that Rowan Hood was a strong female character.  There are four more books in this series, and she’s eager to read more.

This audio is approximately 4 hours long.

Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer

Hope, who is 16, is being raised by her aunt in Hope Was Here.  She’s lived in many different parts of the country, and along the way she’s learned to be a great waitress.  The most difficult move, though, is when she and her aunt move to Wisconsin so her aunt can run a diner.  The man who currently runs the diner has cancer and can’t keep up; instead he decides to run for mayor.   Life in Wisconsin is life changing for both Hope and her aunt.  We loved that this story didn’t force a happy ending.

This audio is approximately 4.5 hours long.

Wishing for Tomorrow by Hilary McKay

In this sequel to A Little Princess, Ermengarde, Sara Crewes’ best friend, is struggling to find her place at Ms. Minchin’s boarding school.  I loved A Little Princess, but I had trouble following the story line in Wishing for Tomorrow.  I definitely liked the first book better.

This audio was approximately 5.75 hours long.

Audios We Couldn’t Finish

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente

Very infrequently do we start audios and not finish them, but The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making was one of them.  None of us could get used to the author’s voice, and the book was just so weird.  I can handle weirdness, but at one point, the main character, September, is urged to take a bath by a dragon friend she has.  September didn’t want to, and the dragon urged her that even if she has all of her clothes off, she’s not really naked.  She’s only really naked if she doesn’t have any secret thoughts.  This really rubbed me the wrong way.  What kind of message is that sending?  We bailed on this audio soon after.

Make sure to check out the best (and worst) books for ages 8 to 12 {January 2020} that we read last month!

FEBRUARY STATS:

Books read: 10

# of pages read: 1,483

Audios listened to: 7

# of hours listened: 25.75

2020 STATS:

Books read in 2020: 13

Audios listened to in 2020: 10

Total books read or listened to in 2020: 23